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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Madi’s startling revelations against SIS: Why the strange silence?

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More than a week since human rights activist Madi Jobarteh made a startling revelation about an alleged well-crafted scheme by the State Intelligence Services (SIS) to bring some perceived enemies of the state to their knees, SIS is still disconcertingly and worryingly quiet.

Jobarteh, who recently got extricated from prosecutorial charges of false publication and broadcasting, on Monday hinted that the Barrow government is now contemplating falling over backwards to Jammeh hym book. The disgraced former tyrant, without any denying, has through unimaginable and despicable ways succeeded in disabling multitudes of citizens. Some of his tactics included slamming of trumped up charges, leading to summary dismissals, nerve wracking legal nightmares, convictions et cetera.

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And now, the vocal human rights activist Jobarteh is speaking of a harbinger to a retrogression into the cesspool of the Jammeh-era tormentation of citizens.

If allegations by Madi that the SIS had convened a conclave in which it discussed how the agency could besmirch the reputation of at least 30 Gambians by planting drugs in their premises and automobiles are anything to go by, then times ahead promise a reminder of the brute force and fear that our countrymen have been ruled with for 22 unbroken years.

The list of the 30 citizens included The Standard’s Managing Director Sherriff Bojang and the paper’s editor Lamin Cham, who, up until now, are seemingly taking the allegations lying down.

But what is more perturbing is the eerie silence surrounding the entire episode.

Allegations of unprofessionalism tinged with vengeance, witch-hunt and vindictiveness against a state institution such as the SIS certainly deserve at least five minutes of the press release of the agency just to set the record straight. Or is it that the allegations by Madi are just operational details that the larger public doesn’t deserve the privilege to know?

Despite its re-baptism to SIS from the NIA, many Gambians still nurse cruel memories of the NIA of a Nazi Gestapo reputation. True, there are no likelihoods that none of those excruciating moments could be ever relived at Marina Parade but if it is true that a monkey cannot stop climbing and, if our intelligence community is yet to be fully sanitized, we may be excused for being concerned.

Consequently, we demand a clarification because silence, they say, is consent.

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